Maria Rosario Piquero-Ballescas of Toyo University reviews Reluctant Intimacies: Japanese Eldercare in Indonesian Hands, by Beata Switek. Beata Switek draws on seventeen months of ethnographic research among Indonesian eldercare workers in Japan and Indonesia. This book is the first ethnography to research Indonesian care workers’ relationships with the cared-for elderly, their Japanese colleagues, and their employers. Through the notion of intimacy, the book brings together sociological and anthropological scholarship on the body, migration, demographic change, and eldercare in a vivid account of societal transformation. Placed against the background of mass media representations, the Indonesian workers’ experiences serve as a basis for discussion of the role of bodily experience in shaping the image of a national “other” in Japan.
Read the book review at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/imre.12367/full.